Dragonflies and Damselflies in Colorado

The identification of Dragonflies and Damselflies is made easier by use of the web site for dragonflies and damselflies at www.odonatacentral.org/index.php/PageAction.get/name/HomePage . Then, click on the Checklists tab, then choose your location, starting with the region of the world, and all the way to your county. For El Paso county, Colorado, there are 43 distinct species listed and you can browse through the photos. The 36th species was due to my submission of a photo of the Great Spreadwing, confirmed on 19 March 2011. The 37th was my photo of the Spotted Spreadwing.

Another excellent web page for Dragonflies and Damselflies in the Southwest part of the U.S., including Colorado, is at southwestdragonflies.net/.

Dragonflies:
      Family Gomphidae Snaketail Dragonflies
      Family Aeshnidae Darner dragonflies
      Family Libellulidae Skimmer dragonflies
Damselflies:
      Family Lestidae Spreadwing damselflies.
      Family Calopterygidae Broad-winged damselflies
      Family Coenagrionoidea Narrow winged damselflies


Family gomphidae, Snaketail dragonflies

A Dragonfly, found on 13 August 2009 at the Fountain Creek Nature Center. This is a Pale Snaketail, Ophiogomphus severus.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Gomphidae
Genus: Ophiogomphus
Species: severus


Family Aeshnidae, Darner dragonflies

This Dragonfly is a Blue-eyed Darner. It is a common dragonfly in the Western United States. This one was photographed at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, on 4 July 2010.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Aeshnidae
Genus: Aeshna
Species: A. multicolor


Family Libellulidae, Skimmer dragonflies

This Twelve-spotted Skimmer dragonfly was photographed by Alyssa Erickson in July 2010. It is an adult male, due to the presence of the white spots between the dark spots on the wings. It is common throughout Southern Canada and all 48 contiguous United States.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Libellula
Species: L. pulchella

A Variegated Meadowhawk dragonfly, found at the Bear Creek Nature center on 1 September 2010.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Anisoptera
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Sympetrum
Species: S. corruptum

This dragonfly was found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 4 September 2010. This one is also a Variegated Meadowhawk, but according to the experts, it is an old female that is showing her age. A little smaller than most, and the tail is a little thicker than most.


An Eastern Pondhawk, found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 14 August 2011.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Erythemis
Species: E. simplicicollis


Damselflies.

According to Wikipedia: "Damselflies (suborder Zygoptera) are insects in the order Odonata. Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but the adults can be distinguished by the fact that the wings of most damselflies are held along, and parallel to, the body when at rest. Furthermore, the hindwing of the damselfly is essentially similar to the forewing, while the hindwing of the dragonfly broadens near the base. Damselflies are also usually smaller than dragonflies and weaker fliers in comparison, and their eyes are separated."


Family Coenagrionoidea -- Narrow winged damselflies

According to Wikipedia, The Coenagrionidae enjoy a world-wide distribution, and are among the most common of damselfly families. There are about 40 Genera in this family.
A Damselfly, picture taken at Pueblo lake in 2007 by Alyssa Erickson. The damselfly is not the same thing as a dragonfly. There are 39 different species within the genus Enallagma (Bluet), and this one is a Familiar Bluet.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies)
Family: Coenagrionoidea
Genus: Enallagma
Specific name: civile

This one is another Familiar Bluet, found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 22 August 2009. It appears to be identical to the one in the photo above.
Another Familiar Bluet, this one at Skaguay lake in Teller County, Colorado on 21 June 2011.
Another one, also at Skaguay lake in Teller County, Colorado on 14 June 2012.
Another Familiar Bluet, this one at Eleven Mile reservoir in Park county, Colorado on 5 July 2011.

Family Lestidae - Spreadwing damselflies.

According to Wikipedia, Lestidae is a rather small family of cosmopolitan, large-sized, slender damselflies. They are of the order of the dragonflies (Odonata) and are commonly known as "Spreadwings." While most damselflies rest with their wings folded together, most members of the family Lestidae hold them at an angle away from their bodies. The pterostigma (a single dark spot in the meshwork of the leading edge near the tip of each wing) is noticeably elongated. The quadrilateral (a part of the wing venation, close to the body) has an acute angle at the end. The body has a greenish metallic shine. The superior anal appendages, commonly called claspers (body parts of male insect for clasping the female during copulation) of male spreadwings are long and strongly curved.
Another Damselfly, this one a female Great Spreadwing, Archilestes grandis. She is resting on one of our Gladiola plants. The identification was provided by the experts at bugguide.net/node/view/1574 . The picture was taken on 13 September 2008 in Colorado Springs, CO.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Lestidae (Spreadwings)
Genus: Archilestes
Species: grandis

Another female Great Spreadwing, Archilestes grandis. She is resting on the antenna of my car. This one was on 5 September 2011.
This Damselfly hitched a ride with me in my car on 20 September 2009 in Colorado Springs. It is a Spotted Spreadwing - Lestes congener. It is a male.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera
Family: Lestidae (Spreadwings)
Genus: Lestes
Species: congener

This male Damselfly was found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 15 October 2010. It appears to be a Spotted Spreadwing like the one above.

Family Calopterygidae, Broad-winged damselflies

This one is an American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana, found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 16 July 2010.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Family: Calopterygidae
Genus: Hetaerina
species: americana

This one is also an American Rubyspot, according to the experts at bugguide.net . It was found at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 16 July 2016.

Another American Rubyspot, again at the Fountain Creek Nature Center on 14 August 2016.

Some of these were flying around the shore at Skaguay Reservior, Teller county, Colorado on 14 June 2011. The way they lay their wings back when resting makes me think they are Damselflies. No identification has been made yet.
This might be a Damselfly nymph, but I thought that it should be swimming, and not crawling around on the sand around Skaguay Reservoir, Teller Co., CO on 14 June 2012. It was about 1 " long. There are lots of Familiar Bluet damselflies there. No identification has been made yet.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Odonata
Suborder: Zygoptera